Nutritional treats for your four-legged friend
There are some vegetables, fruits, cereals and grains that can be added to your dogs’ food and provide a great nutritional boost to their diet as well as add a bit of variety to their meal.
1. Apples are not only a nutritional powerhouse for humans but also for your dog. They are wonderful crunchy treats. Apples with the skin on are full of plant chemicals (phytonutrients) that are thought to be protective against some types of cancer. They are a source of vitamins A, C, Omega 3 and 6, antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols and fibre. Apple seeds, however, contain cyanide so your dog should not be allowed to eat the core.
2. Broccoli is very good for dogs. It has more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk. One medium spear has three times more fiber than a slice of wheat bran bread. It is also a rich source of vitamin A. Broccoli is also rich in a substance caused isothiocyanates chemicals which apparently increase the body’s own production of cancer fighting substances. The daily intake of Broccoli should not exceed more than 10% of the dogs diet as excessive doses of isothiocyanate can cause gastrointestinal irritation.
3. Carrots are wonderful crunchy treats and also great to add to your dogs regular food. They are high in vitamin A—great for dogs’ eyesight; good for dogs’ teeth; prevent cell degeneration; have anti-carcinogen properties which helps prevent cancer. Carrots are rich in minerals and enhance your dogs overall immune system. Give them when they are in season, preferably raw though cooked will do too.
4. Cottage cheese (Paneer) is high in protein and rich in calcium—a great way to add some extra protein and natural calcium to your dogs’ diet. Cottage cheese is a dairy product and some dogs don’t do well with dairy, so make sure you start with just a small amount.
5. Drinks that are good for your doggie begin and end with WATER. Dogs should drink about 60 grams of water per kilo of body weight daily. Dogs regulate their own water intake; depending on weather, the amount of exercise they are given, etc. Always have fresh and clean water available for your dog. Please remember canines do not need any special drinks because they don’t sweat out electrolytes like humans do. If you notice changes in your dogs drinking pattern/habits, it could be an indicator for health problems, so do see a vet.
6. Eggs are loaded with proteins, vitamins and minerals. For some dogs who may be prone to digestive upsets, eggs can be a source of a little protein boost. Best way to serve an egg is hardboiled or scrambled with half a teaspoon of olive oil, cooking oil or just a little water. Try and avoid them when the weather is very hot though and don’t give more than one a day. Don’t give dogs eggs that are raw or undercooked. Raw whites can cause diarrhoea and biotin deficiency and an uncooked egg can result in salmonella poisoning.
7. Flax seed (ground or oil) is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids that are good for skin and coat. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are also great for dogs with hip dysplasia and arthritis because it is a natural anti-inflammatory and so reduces pain and stiffness caused by these diseases. Ground Flax seed can also be added to your dog’s diet as a source of fibre. Its good to grind the flax seeds right before you want to put them in your dogs meal because they go rancid very quickly. Always keep the seeds in the fridge in an air tight container.
8. Grains are an important part of a balanced diet for dogs. Here are some Recommended grains along with their nutrinet content based on 1 dry cup: Barley (Calories 696, protein 19 grams), Brown Rice (Calories 720, protein 15 grams), Wheat (Calories 570, protein 20 grams), Cornmeal (Calories 462, protein 12 grams), Millet (Calories 641, protein 19 grams), Oats (Calories 312, Protein 11 grams), Whole wheat Couscous (Calories 602, protein 19 grams). Rice especially can be excellent for pups or dogs with digestive problems who need a bland diet for a few days. Brown rice is a little higher in protein and lower in fat as compared to white rice. White rice is more easily digestible making it a good source of energy when your dog has an upset tummy or if you are feeding an older dog. Please note that Cornmeal and the gluten in Wheat can be a source of allergy for some dogs. Symptoms may include itchy skin, shaking their heads in discomfort because of ear inflammation/redness – so oats and barley may be better options for such dogs. If you suspect a food allergy see your vet.
9. Green beans (French Beans not Lobia Beans) are a good source of plant fibre, vitamin K, vitamin C, and manganese. Some vegetables in your dogs food provides a healthy balanced meal. If your dog has a tendency to put on weight and you don’t really feel like reducing the amount of food why not replace some of his/her regular food with green beans? It’s a great low calorie way to fill up doggies tummy and help him/her maintain a healthy weight. Boil them or cook them in a wee bit of oil and mix up with your dogs food.
10. Lentils are very good for dogs. They are alkaline, do not cause gas and are a good source of protein. Split Yellow Lentil (Dhulli Moong) and Split Red Lentil (Dhulli Masoor) are the best and most digestible lentils to give to your dogs. Boil them well with a little turmeric (haldi) powder and serve as a soup or mixed with rice, meat, vegetables etc.
11. Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fibre. This can be beneficial for some older dogs or puppies who may have trouble maintaining bowel regularity. Oatmeal is also an alternative source of grain for dogs who are allergic to wheat. Oatmeal should always be fed cooked and plain with no sugar or flavouring.
12. Popcorn without the salt and butter is a great low calorie treat for your dog. Popcorn contains potassium as well as the bone-building minerals phosphorous, magnesium, and calcium.
13. Pumpkin is a good source of fibre and beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A. Dogs need fibre in their diet. It’s good for both diarrhoea and constipation. Since it bulks up the stool its especially good for dogs who may have anal gland problems. Boiled and pureed, a couple of teaspoons a day for little pups and a couple of tablespoons a day for the big guys should be fine. Don’t overdo it because vitamin A in large doses can be highly toxic for dogs.
14. Parsley improves bad doggie breath and is also a good source of calcium, potassium and beta-carotene. Chop up and add a few tablespoons to doggies food.
15. Pineapple contains mostly sugar but it also contains calcium and potassium. Not to be given too frequently because of high sugar content.
16. Sweet potatoes contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, beta carotene, and manganese. They are also a good source of dietary fibre. They’re best dry cooked for doggie. Slice them up and mix them in to the meal.
17. Yoghurt is a natural source of calcium and protein and often much more easily digested than milk. Don’t give yoghurts that have sugar or artificial flavors and sweeteners in them.